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Computer Scientists Prevent Data Theft on Smartphones and Tablet Computers

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A secured smartphone.

Some mobile applications on web-enabled smartphones and tablets spy on personal data, so computer scientists have developed a free app that attacks the program code of the digital spies.

Credit: Bellhuser - das bilerwerk

Saarland University researchers have developed SRT Appguard, software that prevents Android-based smartphones and tablets from turning into digital spies against their owners.

The program scans every selected app installed on the device and indicates its real behavior, such as accessing private contacts, establishing a connection to the Internet, or tracking the user's position, says Saarland University professor Michael Backes.

SRT Appguard takes advantage of the fact that Android apps, which are written in Java, run in a virtual machine. Before the suspicious app starts, Appguard scans the storage of the virtual machine to detect security-critical functions.

Although Appguard does not manipulate the bytecode, the researchers say it does direct the function call within the virtual machine to the security monitor, which observes the suspicious method calls and can block them if necessary.

From Saarland University
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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